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Iraq

 
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Iraq

The Persian Gulf Countries

Iraq's closest relations in 1988 were with the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, especially Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. This was a reversal of the pattern of relations that had persisted in the 1970s. The original Baathist view of the Arabian Peninsula shaykhdoms was that they were regimes that had been set up by the imperialist powers to serve their own interests. This attitude was reinforced in the period between 1968 and 1971, when Britain was preparing the countries of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for complete independence. Iraq wished to have an influence on the governments that would come to power, and it provided clandestine assistance to various groups opposed to the pro-British rulers. Iraqi support of dissident movements was particularly evident in Oman, where an organized guerrilla force was fighting the government from the late 1960s to the mid1970s .

The Baathist perception of Iran's role in the Persian Gulf was an important factor in Iraqi views of the Arabian Peninsula states. In 1969 Iran, which was then providing aid to dissident Iraqi Kurds, unilaterally abrogated a 1937 treaty that had established the Shatt al Arab boundary along the low water on the Iranian shore; in 1971 Iran forcibly occupied three small islands in the lower gulf near the approaches to the Strait of Hormuz; and by 1972 Iran was again giving assistance to antigovernment Kurds. As Iraq became increasingly concerned about Iranian policies, it tried to enlist the cooperation of the Arab monarchies in an effort to keep the Persian Gulf independent of Iranian influence. Iraq believed it was possible to collaborate with the Arab kings and shaykhs because the latter had proven their Arab nationalism by participating in the 1973 oil boycott against the Western countries supporting Israel. Despite Iraq's new friendliness, the rulers in countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia did not easily forget their suspicions of Iraqi radicalism. Nevertheless, political discussions were initiated, and progress was made toward resolving disputes over borders, over oil pricing policy, and over support for subversion.

By the time the Islamic Revolution occurred in Iran in 1979, Iraq had succeeded in establishing generally correct relations with the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. The war with Iran served as a catalyst to develop these relations even further. Although the Gulf states proclaimed their neutrality in the war, in practice they gave Iraq crucial financial support. The unexpected prolongation of the war and the closing of Iraqi ports early in the war had produced a severe economic crunch by the beginning of 1981. In response, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE all provided loans to help replace revenues that Iraq had lost because of the decline of its oil exports. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were particularly generous, providing an estimated US$50 billion in interest-free loans up through 1987. In addition, a major portion of Iraq's nonmilitary imports were shipped to Kuwaiti harbors, then transported overland to Iraq. Saudi Arabia also agreed to provide to Iraqi contract customers part of its own oil from the Neutral Zone, jurisdiction over which it shared with Iraq; it was understood that Iraq would repay this oil "loan" after the war had ended.

Data as of May 1988

 

Iraq - TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Government and Politics
  • National Security

  • Go Up - Top of Page






    GENERAL FACTS & LINKS

    Country name
    Iraq
    conventional long form
    Republic of Iraq
    conventional short form
    Iraq
    local long form
    Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah
    local short form
    Al Iraq

    Area -
    total: 437,072 sq km
    land: 432,162 sq km
    water: 4,910 sq km

    Geographic Location - Middle East, bordering the Persian Gulf, between Iran and Kuwait

    Map references - Middle East

    Capital - Baghdad

    Border Countries - Iran 1,458 km, Jordan 181 km, Kuwait 242 km, Saudi Arabia 814 km, Syria 605 km, Turkey 331 km

    Major Cities - Baghdad

    Independence -
    3 October 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)

    National holiday - Revolution Day, 17 July (1968)

    ISD CODE
    Iraq 964

    Languages Spoken - Arabic (official) and Kurdish

    Weather Forecast -  Baghdad  Mosul  Saddam Irq-Afb / Civ  Shaibah / Basrah

    Major Airports - Baghdad

    Ports - Umm Qasr, Khawr az Zubayr, and Al Basrah have limited functionality

    Population -24,001,816 (July 2002 est.)

    Religion - Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%

    Nationality - Iraqi(s)

    Currency - Iraqi dinar

    Currency Code - IQD

    National Bird - "Kew" (Chukar)

    Lakes - Hammer

    Rivers - Euphrates, Tigris

    Terrain - Mostly broad plains; reedy marshes along Iranian border in south with large flooded areas; mountains along borders with Iran and Turkey

    Climate - Mostly desert; mild to cool winters with dry, hot, cloudless summers; northern mountainous regions along Iranian and Turkish borders experience cold winters with occasionally heavy snows that melt in early spring, sometimes causing extensive flooding in central and southern Iraq

    Geography - Strategic location on Shatt al Arab waterway and at the head of the Persian Gulf

    Waterways - 1,015 km
    note: Shatt al Arab is usually navigable by maritime traffic for about 130 km; channel has been dredged to 3 m and is in use; Tigris and Euphrates Rivers have navigable sections for shallow-draft boats; Shatt al Basrah canal was navigable by shallow-draft craft before closing in 1991 because of the Gulf war

    Natural hazards - Dust storms, sandstorms, floods

    Natural Resources - petroleum, natural gas, phosphates, sulphur


    More Iraq related links from
    1Up Info

     Iraq Country Facts

     Middle Eastern Political Geography

     Iraq Political Geography

     Middle Eastern Physical Geography

     Iraq Towns & Cities

     Iraq History


    Iraq related links from
    1Up Travel

     Iraq Country Guide

     Iraq Detailed Maps

     Iraq Flag

     More Iraqi Flags

     Iraq Geography

     Iraq Travel Warnings

     Iraq Cities Weather

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    Information Courtesy: The Library of Congress - Country Studies


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